Baby Acne

What is Baby Acne

Baby acne is a common rash that can develop at any time during your baby’s first year of life. Baby acne may be called neonatal acne if it happens at birth or during the first few weeks after birth.

Baby acne may be called infantile acne if it occurs when your baby is between 6 weeks and 12 months old. This condition is more common in baby boys.

Baby acne usually appears on the face, especially on the forehead, nose, and cheeks. It may also appear on the neck and on the upper part of the chest or back. Baby acne may be called neonatal cephalic pustulosis (NCP) if the rash is only on the face.

What are the causes?

The exact cause of this condition is not known. NCP may be caused by a type of skin yeast.

What are the signs or symptoms?

The most common sign of baby acne is a rash that may look like:

  • Raised red-pink bumps (papules).
  • Small bumps filled with pus (pustules).
  • Tiny whiteheads or blackheads (comedones). These are more common in infantile acne than neonatal acne.

How is this diagnosed?

This condition may be diagnosed based on a physical exam.

How is this treated?

Mild cases of baby acne usually do not need treatment. The rash usually gets better by itself, especially neonatal acne. Sometimes a skin infection caused by bacteria or fungus can start in the areas where there is acne. This is more common in infant acne. In this case, your baby’s health care provider may prescribe a medicine to put on your baby’s skin (topical medicine), such as:

  • Antifungal cream.
  • Antibiotic cream.
  • A medicine similar to vitamin A (retinoid).
  • A type of antiseptic (benzoyl peroxide).

Follow these instructions at home:

Medicines

  • Apply medicines only as told by your baby’s health care provider. Do notapply baby oils, lotions, or ointments unless told by your baby’s health care provider. These may make the acne worse.
  • Give over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your baby’s health care provider.

General instructions

  • Clean your baby’s skin gently with mild soap and clean water. Do notscrub your baby’s skin.
  • Keep the areas with acne clean and dry.
  • Do notrub or squeeze the bumps. This can cause irritation.

Contact a health care provider if:

  • Your baby’s acne gets worse, especially if the bumps become large and red.
  • Your baby has acne for more than 12 months.
  • Your baby develops scars.
  • Your baby has a fever or chills.
  • Your baby’s acne becomes infected. Signs of infection include:
    • Redness, streaking, or spotting.
    • Swelling.
    • Pain or tenderness when touched.
    • Warmth.
    • Drainage of pus.

Get help right away if:

  • Your baby who is younger than 3 months has a temperature of 100°F (38°C) or higher.

Summary

  • Baby acne is a common rash that often develops during a baby’s first year of life.
  • The exact cause of this condition is not known.
  • Mild cases usually do not require treatment. More severe cases may be treated with prescription topical medicines.
  • Clean your baby’s skin gently with mild soap and clean water.
  • Contact your baby’s health care provider if your baby’s acne gets worse, especially if the bumps become large, red, or filled with pus.
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